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Africa: The impact of Afrobarometer data

5 Oct 2016
By Chloe Bailey, Programme Officer Mo Ibrahim Foundation working on #IIAG. Blog post courtesy of

Since its inception in 2007, the IIAG has evolved to cover more African countries, include new and improved measures from diverse sources of data. For the tenth iteration of the Index, the IIAG contains data from Afrobarometer.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African research network, started in 1999, that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues in 37 countries in Africa. Led by Professor Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development and member of the IIAG Advisory Council, it is the world's leading research project on issues that affect African citizens.

Core donors have included the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank (WB).

Since 2011, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has been partnering with Afrobarometer as part of our objective to strengthen the collection of Public Attitude Survey data in Africa. This partnership represents the Foundation's biggest financial commitment to a data project to date, totalling $2.5 million.

For the first time since its inception, the 2016 IIAG is able to include Public Attitude Survey data from Afrobarometer.

The IIAG threshold for inclusion requires that data cover at least 33 of the 54 countries on the continent and provide at least two years' worth of data for these countries since 2000; these criteria were only met at the end of the most recent Afrobarometer survey round in 2015.

Public Attitude Survey data from Afrobarometer constitutes a new data type to the Index. They provide 18 of the 166 measures used to calculate the IIAG, and cover 13 indicators spread across all four categories of the Index. For the 37 African countries surveyed, these data provide a key insight into citizen's perceptions of how effectively the government is delivering public goods and services, which is the basic aim of the IIAG

Interestingly, in some Afrobarometer measures country results are diverging from scores registered in other data sources. The data also reveals interesting trends, particularly in governance dimensions that the IIAG has not previously been able to measure: crime in the home and neighbourhood, the quality of basic health services and income inequality.